The New York Times: “ moving to take control of the agency hours after its departing leader had taken steps to install his own choice for acting chief. By the end of the night, an agency born of the financial meltdown — and one Republicans have tried to kill from the start — had dueling directors, and there was little sense of who actually would be in charge Monday morning (November 27, 2017) . The bureaucratic standoff began Friday afternoon (November 24, 2017) when Richard Cordray, the Obama-appointed leader of the bureau, abruptly announced he would leave the job at the close of business, a week earlier than anticipated. He followed up with a letter naming his chief of staff, Leandra English, as the agency’s deputy director. The announcement came with a twist. Under the law, he said, that appointment would make the new deputy director the agency’s acting director. The move was seen as an effort to delay Mr. Trump from appointing his own director, whose confirmation could take months. The White House retaliated, saying that the budget director, Mick Mulvaney, who once characterized the consumer protection bureau as a “sad, sick joke,” would be running the agency. He would also keep his current job as head of the Office of Management and Budget. Mr. Mulvaney said he would assume the additional role until a permanent successor was found…In a letter to the consumer protection agency’s staff, Mr. Cordray named Ms. English as deputy director. Under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, which established the regulatory agency, the deputy director is to serve as acting director in the absence of a permanent leader, Mr. Cordray said. The conflicting appointments were a fitting development for an agency under constant attack from Republican leaders, and it leaves supporters wondering about the agency’s future with Mr. Trump in the White House and Republicans in control of both houses of Congress. The bureau was proposed in 2007 by Elizabeth Warren, then a Harvard law professor, but she was passed over to lead the agency after Obama administration officials became concerned that she would not be able to overcome resistance from Republicans during the confirmation process. Instead, President Barack Obama chose Mr. Cordray, a former attorney general of Ohio whom Ms. Warren had picked to be the agency’s enforcement director. But for two years, Republicans prevented the confirmation of a director to lead the agency. The agency’s creation was also largely opposed by the banking industry, which sought to prevent Mr. Cordray’s confirmation. In July 2013, the Senate finally agreed to allow the confirmation of Mr. Cordray, cementing a new era of expansive federal oversight of companies that lend money to consumers. On Friday, Ms. Warren defended Mr. Cordray’s decision on Facebook: “President Trump can’t override that. He can nominate the next CFPB Director — but until that nominee is confirmed by the Senate, Leandra English is the Acting Director under the Dodd-Frank Act.”
- Reuters – “The top lawyer for the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has concluded that President Donald Trump has the authority to name its acting director, three sources familiar with the matter said on Sunday, rejecting an effort by her former boss at the agency to name his immediate successor….”
- The Hill: “The Justice Department released a memo on Saturday arguing that it is well within President Trump’s authority to appoint White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney as the interim director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). In a memo dated Nov. 25, Steven Engel, the assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel, said that the 1998 Federal Vacancies Act gives the president full authority to appoint an acting director to the watchdog agency, regardless of the CFPB’s established line of succession. The 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, which established the CFPB, states that the deputy director is to head the agency in the absence of a permanent director…”
- Politico – “The 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, which created the CFPB, explicitly says the consumer bureau’s deputy director shall ‘serve as acting Director in the absence or unavailability of the Director,’ giving the edge to English. Yet the Federal Vacancies Act allows the president to install a temporary acting head of any executive agency who has already been confirmed by the Senate to another position, like Mulvaney has as leader of the Office of Management and Budget.”
- Politico – Cordray’s departure statement to CFPB staff.
- Politico – Cordray’s resignation letter.
- The American Banker – Leadership clash at CFPB continues as two claim mantle